Casual Workers – avoiding disputes over employment status
The three categories of employment status are employee, worker and self-employed. When considering the status of 'casual workers', the key question is commonly whether they are employees or workers.
Employers often use the term ‘casual’ interchangeably with ’employee’ and ‘worker’. Under the Employment Rights Act 1996, ’employee’ and ‘worker’ are two different categories of status, with different rights and protections available to them. The obligations of the employer also differ.
To clarify their obligations and the legal rights and protections available of the worker, employers should consider the nature of the working arrangement in which they want to operate and understand the status of the casual worker from the outset.
Employees have significantly more rights and protections than workers. Some of these rights depend on a period of continuous employment. Where periods of employment can be treated as continuous, this could place greater obligations on the employer.
It is advisable for employers to:
clarify the individual is a worker, not an employee
specify in the contract that there is no obligation to provide work and no obligation on the worker to accept work
ensure the arrangement reflects this in practice
avoid engaging the same workers on a regular pattern
allow gaps between periods of engagement (at least one full week including a period from Sunday to Saturday)
keep records of engagements and refusals to accept work
If you need further information on any of the topics above for your business, get in touch.
For more information or to book an HR consultation please contact Karen Scott on 07762 629 448 or get in touch by clicking here.
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